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Your Body The Drug Dealer

Your Body The Drug Dealer

    The Scene: You’re driving in your Volkswagen on a cool autumn day.  You gaze out the window to admire the colorful foliage when out of nowhere a toddler on a big wheel rolls directly in front of your car.  You slam on the breaks, just barely avoiding disaster.

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    You can feel your heart in your chest.  It appears everything has slowed down.  Your vision seems to have narrowed.  Your once clogged sinuses are now clear.  That nagging tendinitis you have had in your elbow seems to have temporarily gone away.

    Your body has just given you a powerful dose of epinephrine.

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    Epinephrine/Adrenaline

    The “fight or flight” hormone.  Your body releases epinephrine in response to short term stress situations.  These situations tend to involve extreme changes in the environment, like those of temperature, noise, bright light, or children running in front of your car.  The purpose of this temporary doping is to allow increased oxygen to reach the brain and skeletal muscle in order to allow for momentary peak performance.  The type of performance one might have needed to escape from a saber toothed cat 2 million years ago.  The software in our bodies hasn’t really updated much since then.

    Testosterone

    For our purposes I’ll skip the sex education speech and go into the not-so-familiar method of elevating testosterone; through exercise.  Studies have shown that using complex movements like squats and pull ups as opposed to leg extensions and biceps curls has a much greater impact on our bodies ability to naturally increase its testosterone levels.  Testosterone offers us a plethora of benefits such as increased libido, mental and physical energy, decreased fat mass, and increased protein synthesis and bone density.  Not bad for anyone whose goal is to either shed a few pounds or gain some lean muscle.  Aside from using compound movements studies also seem to favor using heavy weights when trying to stimulate greater testosterone levels.

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    Cortisol

    Like epinephrine, cortisol is also released due to stress.  Its job is to try to bring your body’s systems back to homeostasis after an event.  It does this by increasing blood pressure, blood lipids, and blood sugar.  It also temporarily shuts down the immune system in order to cater to the other more important bodily systems.  Unfortunately, some negative side effects of long-term cortisol release can leave you pretty beat up on the inside.  Your body is now more likely to store fat close to the vital organs in your gut so that it is more readily available for the next stressful event.  A good way to spot the stressed-out guy at your office is to look for the beer belly.

    Although this article did not focus completely around exercise and fitness, it should be easy to see how knowing a little bit about the way things work on the inside can affect the way you look on the outside.  Understand and learn your body; that is a major key to success in any fitness program.

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

    Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

    The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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    The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

    Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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    Review Your Past Flow

    Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

    Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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    Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

    Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

    Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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    Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

    Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

    We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

    Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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